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The Smart Passive Income Podcast

AP 1005: How Do I Double My Email List and Sell Without Selling Out?

AP 1005: How Do I Double My Email List and Sell Without Selling Out?

By Pat Flynn on

About This Episode

Brian Matiash joins me on a coaching call this week to talk about growing email lists, time management, and selling without bombarding his audience. Through the call, Brian discovers strategies and tactics for growing his business to the next level.

What You’ll Learn: How to increase website traffic by growing your email list and interacting with your audience.

AskPat 1005 Episode Transcript

Pat Flynn: What’s up everybody? Thank you so much for joining me in Episode 1005 of AskPat 2.0, where we do coaching calls with business owners who really need some help. We go deep; we definitely go deep. Today we’re going deep with Brian Matiash from He is a photographer, he sells a number of items, he also podcasts as well. Today he’s asking questions about doubling the size of his email list and also selling without selling out, because he really cares about his audience, like I know all of you do, too. You just want to make sure that you do it in a way that’s not distasteful.

We’ll get into that in just a minute, but before we get into the coaching call with Brian, I do want to say thank you to FreshBooks, today’s sponsor. Did you know that Numero-phobia is an actual thing—the fear of numbers? It’s just, people are scared of numbers, right? When it comes to being a business owner, you can’t be scared of your numbers because you need to keep track of all that stuff, which is why I love FreshBooks. They help us manage our business finances. It’s a cloud accounting software for self-employed folks like us because they understand how intimidating numbers can be. So much so that they’ve obsessed over making the new version of FreshBooks ridiculously easy to use. Their interface is highly visual, super intuitive. I use it myself. What you see is what you get, and what you get is the confidence to conquer your paperwork in way less time with a lot less hassle. You can send a polished invoice in thirty seconds to people who you need to get paid from. Super easy to use. Set yourself up and get paid in two clicks, manage your expenses by taking pictures of your receipts from your phone, all those things. For a thirty-day unrestricted free trial, just go to Just make sure you enter “Ask Pat” in the “How did you hear about us?” section. Sweet.

Alright guys. It’s time for our conversation with Brian Matiash from Here we go.

Pat Flynn: Hey, Brian. Thank you so much for coming on to AskPat today. How are things?

Brian Matiash: Things are great, Pat. Thank you so much for the opportunity.

Pat Flynn: Yeah, my pleasure. Tell us a little bit about your business, Brian.

Brian Matiash: Sure. I’m a photographer and author, and a podcaster. My business primarily involves creating digital content for my audience to help them grow as photographers. That’s through a variety of things, like a lot of it’s free stuff that I’ll put on YouTube or on my blog. Then there’s premium stuff, like preset packs and ebooks and what not.

Pat Flynn: Your target audience are other photographers, and you’re helping them create these assets?

Brian Matiash: Yeah. I would say my target audience is, demographic-wise, somewhere between the, I’d say, late twenties to all the way up to the mid to late sixties, who are these kinds of pro-sumer, amateur, advanced amateur photographers. They don’t necessarily want to do photography, as a business or professionally, they just want to be able, when they do practice their photography, that they are able to get the best possible results.

Pat Flynn: Got it. How long have you been doing the business for?

Brian Matiash: That’s a funny question to answer because I have what I would consider a unique background in the photo industry. I’ve been working for myself on and off full time for a few years now. I incorporated on January 1, 2015, but I’ve worked full time for companies like Google and Sony and Walkam, specifically. With Google, I was on the photos team, or the Google Plus photos team. With Sony, same thing, I worked with the digital imaging team. With Walkam, specifically for social media and photography. So, working in the industry since 2011, but working for myself as Matiash Incorporated—that’s been since 2015.

Pat Flynn: Mm-hmm, Cool. And then, in terms of your target audience, where are they? Where are you finding them right now?

Brian Matiash: That’s one of the interesting things that I’m trying to redefine. I have a newsletter, and I’m happy with it. Right now it’s sitting a little over 32,000 subscribers, which is good, but it could be better in a variety of ways. A big part of my audience is there, obviously, that’s like my dedicated social network. And the question that I have for myself is, where is my . . . Where do I know my audience is, versus where would I like them to be? I would say they’re mostly on Facebook and possibly YouTube. Not so much on Twitter, and on Instagram to a degree, but my audience on Instagram I wouldn’t say is my audience that would convert to purchasing. I would say that they are fellow photographers who are just consuming media.

Pat Flynn: Mm-hmm. What’s the ultimate goal for your audience? What is it that they really, really want?

Brian Matiash: So, for my audience, the one that I nurture and foster, I believe that what they want is to become better photographers so that when they go out they are equipped to do the best possible job and also, when they share their work, that they feel like they are putting quality stuff out there. Everyone wants to in some way outdo themselves as photographers, but they also want to show their chops to other photographers, to their family, to whoever it is, their friends.

Pat Flynn: Perfect. Okay, so I’m getting a good sense of your site and . . . What is your site, by the way, if you want to share it?

Brian Matiash: Sure, it’s, so that’s my last name, which is

Pat Flynn: Perfect. Now, what’s on your mind? What can I help you with?

Brian Matiash: Sure. So, the thing that I’ve been struggling most with is, I guess, prioritization, in terms of—I feel like, for the past maybe year, just to speak broadly, in 2017, I’ve been focusing on the wrong things in terms of how to grow my business. A big part of that has been—what’s the best way to leverage my time? That can be broken down in a variety of ways, meaning am I spending too much time on social media, figuring out . . . Putting my finger on the pulse and seeing what other people are doing versus just hoarding my time to simply creating content, creating things for my business.

Pat Flynn: Mm-hmm.

Brian Matiash: I don’t know if that’s the case. Then the other thing, I touched on it earlier, is really knowing who my audience is and where they are, versus where I would like them to be. Lately I’ve been spending a lot more time, for instance, on Twitter and on Instagram, but I don’t know necessarily that that’s the right place for me to be spending my time, versus just using something like Buffer to automate content to just go out. So, in a word, it’s prioritization and also figuring out ways to really continue to grow the audience. One of my goals for next year is to double my newsletter size from 32,000, to rounding it up to 65,000.

Pat Flynn: I love that. I have some ideas on that. But I’d love to know, currently, what plans you might have to do that.

Brian Matiash: So, I will say that the newsletter, when I look at the open rate and click rate—I’m going to log in now to check that out, but I’m happy with it, but what I would really like to improve, organically and authentically, of course, is the conversion into the funnel for purchase. And one of the reasons why I don’t necessarily think I’ve been optimizing that is because I don’t know if I’m offering premium products at . . . If the rate is too slow or too fast. And, premium products, the ones that I offer, they vary in what they are, they vary in price, so I’m very hesitant . . . I’m not hesitant, but I’m very careful to not over-solicit to my audience. So I wonder if . . . And I don’t know if you’ve ever seen this, if it’s possible to under-solicit? If that’s the right word. It’s easy to over-solicit, so just constantly bombard people with emails about product promotions and stuff like that.

Pat Flynn: Of course.

Brian Matiash: But then is it possible to not do enough of it? So that’s something that I’ve been thinking about as well.

Pat Flynn: In terms of promotions to your audience, how often are you promoting?

Brian Matiash: I would say once every eight weeks at most.

Pat Flynn: The ultimate form of under sharing would be not to ever share anything, right? Or not to ever promote anything. I think a lot of people struggle with that in the online space where they just give and give and give, or “jab, jab, jab” as Gary Vaynerchuk would say, and they never give that right hook.

Brian Matiash: Right.

Pat Flynn: Have you ever experimented with, for example, on your email list, providing promotions a little bit sooner in that sequence?

Brian Matiash: In some cases, yes. Most of the times that would be more seasonal.

Pat Flynn: Got you.

Brian Matiash: The whole Cyber Monday—I didn’t do Black Friday, I did Cyber Monday because my business is primarily online. And sometimes I’m not quite sure how to gauge what that cooling period is between the next, I guess, promotion. So that’s another thing that I was considering doing, is going on a monthly cadence with having something new every month that has some real value that is also, I guess, complimentary to the things that I still want to give away for free. That’s another thing, something that I’m actually excited to hear your thoughts on. I know you are also, for 2018, putting renewed focus on video and I love it.

Pat Flynn: Mm-hmm.

Brian Matiash: That’s something that I have—over the past two or three months have started doing again, but where I wonder, and I’d love to know your thoughts on, is it possible to cannibalize your own sales? Because for me, one of the product types that I do are these photo kits and it’s a combination of an ebook that I design, I layout, I hire a copy editor to proof it, I make it look as legitimate as possible—ISBN numbers. And then I also create several videos, training videos, to go along with it, and then presets. So it’s a combination of all the individual product types that I offer. The video component though, if you go to my YouTube channel, a lot of the videos are very similar. So I do concern myself with the cannibalization of that, or how to properly segment the product so that people don’t feel like, “Oh, I could just . . . ” I don’t want people to not think that I don’t want to give things away for free. I absolutely do, I love, love providing value for free. But at the same time it’s still a business.

Pat Flynn: Right. I think that’s very common to worry if you’re giving too much away for free. I come from the angle, and you’re probably not surprised by this, Brian, of just give as much of it away for free as possible. Even if you were to give everything away for free, you’re still going to be able to build those relationships with people and create bundles like you were just talking about that are more convenient, that have more information, that even though a lot of it’s the same, people are still going to want to buy it because they’re fans. And that’s what you’re creating here through the effort of actually providing a lot of information for free, versus looking like just a business who’s asking for money all the time. Because a lot of the stuff is very high quality. I’m looking at it right now on your YouTube channel and on your website. It all looks fantastic. There’s no wonder why your business is doing well now. But I appreciate the fact that you are looking to see how you might be able to optimize it and improve it.

So I wouldn’t worry about that. I think the rhythm you have going on now is great. What I do want to talk about is the growth of your email list, and also go back into something you said earlier related to your time and having it be something that you just weren’t sure about, in terms of what was giving you results, whether it’s social media or creating these videos or other things. So if I were to ask you what’s, in your entire business right now, what is working for you best, what is giving you the 80 percent of the results, what would that be?

Brian Matiash: I guess it depends on what my . . . I have two objectives here. The first, obviously, is my direct relationship with my audience and I think there’s no question that the newsletter is the best vehicle for that.

Pat Flynn: Mm-hmm.

Brian Matiash: So, with that, it currently has a 40 percent open and 6.1 percent click rate at a little over 32,000 subscribers. I want to see those numbers jump. In terms of improving the newsletter, that’s a big thing for me. However, where the social media side of things goes, is I don’t necessarily know that social media—meaning Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, for me at least, the way I run my brand there—is the best vehicle to engage with my audience, compared to something like the newsletter. Where social media is really good is I also—for instance I’m a brand ambassador for Zeiss lenses and for G Technology, and these businesses are, obviously, operate very much on social media. They look at their ambassadors and what they’re doing in terms of helping to spread the word of the products.

Pat Flynn: Right.

Brian Matiash: In that respect, I still want to grow social media. My problem is, I think I’m conflating one with the other. Again, this is where the prioritization, my troubles come in, is where I’ll go onto social and, two hours later all a sudden, I’ve done nothing but look at what other people are doing and that’s where I need, I think, the most help, is figuring out how to properly optimize what I’m doing on social media. And also, what I can be doing at least to bring people from social media over to my newsletter.

Pat Flynn: I go through those periods, too, where I get into a YouTube rabbit hole and I just catch myself later on, I think. And I’ve been putting things into place now to stop myself from doing that because, really, that’s a lot of time that you’re taking away from creating content, building those relationships, and although social media’s great, it’s also very easy to get distracted. I think something that I can offer you based on what I’ve done, is I’ve scheduled my social media time. I’ve literally put it in my calendar, when I go on social media, and I’m there to answer questions, I’m there to ask questions and engage, I’m there to see other people’s stuff so I can share it if they’re people I’m following, for example. And then after that time’s done, I’m done. I know to move onto the next thing. How does that sit with you, to potentially schedule when you do social media so that you can make sure that you have that dedicated time, but you aren’t adding more time on that that you could take and put somewhere else?

Brian Matiash: I’m really glad that you said that because it was something I was considering doing but I would sit there and I would go to my Google calendar and I would create a new item and then I would be like, “This is so hokey.”

Pat Flynn: It’s weird, right?

Brian Matiash: Right.

Pat Flynn: “I have to schedule in when to be social?” Yes. You have to create these boundaries, right? Because when you say yes to something, you’re saying no to something else. When you’re saying yes to, “Yeah, I’m just going to allow myself to have as much time as I want on social media,” you’re saying no to all these other things that you’re doing, right? But by saying, “Yes, I want to work on my newsletter. I want to work on content creation,” and really focus on what’s working, then you’re saying no to extraneous social media time. So, in that regard, it’s not weird at all. I’m doing it too, Brian, so you and I can be weird together.

Brian Matiash: I dig it. And you brought up a point that I think is another layer to the issues that I’m struggling with. I actually, just a couple days ago—I was in Japan last week and during the day my wife and I would hang out at Starbucks just to burn the daylight hours which aren’t ideal for photography. And I started a 2018 resolutions post, and the first thing that I resolved to do was to . . . Because the way you said it on social media what you’re . .. The time you’re spending on it, it’s not just when you spend your social media. For me, the other issue is what I do with that time, and I spend way too much time looking at other photographers, what they’re doing, or something that’s superficial, it’s like, “Wow, that guy or that gal is verified.” To me that’s just a complete time-suck, I’m going down that rabbit hole and next thing I know, like I said earlier, it’s two hours and I haven’t accomplished anything. So, again, that’s another facet of prioritization—

Pat Flynn: Everybody’s different and we treat things differently. Some people, unlike us, are very disciplined with that and they know when to shut it off. I’m not, and it sounds like you’re just like me, Brian.

So, literally this is what I do. When it’s my time for social media, I go on social media. I have a timer set just so I can see it, because sometimes you lose track of time as well, that’s why we go up to two hours sometimes, but also if I see a countdown timer for the fifteen minutes I’m going to spend, I know that that’s what I’m focusing on and I’m not getting distracted from this distraction. It’s the same as scheduling TV time or other things. It’s like you’re allowing yourself this distraction but it’s going to be in a shorter time period. And when you see that countdown timer—I would literally have the phone up and your stopwatch there, or your countdown timer on your phone—you’re going to get even more productive within that time you’re on social media, because you can see that time going down. It’ll force you to decide on really what’s important when you’re there.

Brian Matiash: One thing that I will promise you is that I’m going to try it, only because I’ve never known anyone else who has. I’ve read articles in terms of time management where people suggest that, but I didn’t know that that was something that you were doing. So it gives a little bit of credence to it.

Pat Flynn: Okay, we’ll do that. Now, let’s talk about your email list.

Brian Matiash: Sure.

Pat Flynn: First of all, 40 percent open rate is quite big, especially at a size email list like that. So congratulations for that.

Brian Matiash: Thanks.

Pat Flynn: But that can also continue to increase over time. Are you doing any segmentation in your list, in terms of knowing what levels people are at, or perhaps dividing it in some way that allows you to better connect with where they’re at or what they’re using or what have you?

Brian Matiash: Absolutely. My newsletter’s called Inbox Inspiration and it is very . .. It’s photo-centric and it’s an opportunity for me to create a journal of the content that I create every week on my blog and blast it out to these people. Typically, the issues that I put out that are just purely content based, for the most part, I’ll send that out to everyone.

Pat Flynn: Mm-hmm.

Brian Matiash: Where I start to segment is when I do have a promotion. I’ll do various types of segments and AB tests in terms of headlines to see if there’s a particular subject that’s doing better than one over the other. In that case, yes. I also, twice a year I do a content product-steering survey. So I’ll put out a type form survey to my audience to get an idea of what is it that they are looking for in terms of the type of content, the medium, and also what kind of premium content are they most interested or most likely to purchase.

In that respect, I have good data, but there’s a lot to it that I want to make sure . . . I get really hung up, Pat, on this, again, the whole what I . . . Because, like you, every time I create something, if it’s free or not, I want it to be as polished, as good as possible, and as value-added as possible.

Pat Flynn: Yeah.

Brian Matiash: Sometimes I feel . . . I don’t know what the word is, I don’t know if it’s doubtful or guilty, when I create premium content, because I struggle to figure out how to make it that much more value added. Because to ask someone for their money . . . To ask someone for their time is huge, but then to ask someone for their money, to me the last thing I would ever want is to disappoint someone if they’re giving me their money for a product that I made.

Pat Flynn: Of course.

Brian Matiash: That is something that I . . . I don’t know if struggle is the right word, but I think that by having . . . I feel better when I solicit through my newsletter versus social. I hardly ever put ads on social, and that could be an entirely different situation just because of the echo chamber that is out there.

Pat Flynn: Mm-hmm.

Brian Matiash: But I do feel okay with selling to my newsletter, because that’s a double opt-in procedure. If you’re there, you want to be there. If you don’t want to be there, you hit unsubscribe.

Pat Flynn: Of course. It’s the same way for me. I use social media as a way to help people realize what’s available for them for free, and also to just get them to know me a little bit better. Most of my selling is done through email as well. We’re very similar in that regard. You have this amazing stuff that can really help people. They’ve given you permission to send them stuff, so absolutely use that. I would recommend seeing how you might be able to take people into some sort of offer a little bit sooner in their journey in your email list. Like you said, double opt-in, they’ve probably seen a lot of your free stuff. You might be waiting too long; people want this stuff. You can determine, based on some experiments, “okay, well, where in that funnel would it make sense?” It might be only after four weeks, or even two weeks. It doesn’t have to be anything hard. It could be done in an auto-responder. That way you can focus on just building that email list and crafting those emails later on in the auto-responder, and you can have some stuff that’s evergreen for sale, just continually over time. It doesn’t have to be a super aggressive push. But, again, you’ve built this relationship. When you build a relationship with an audience it requires less aggressive selling, it requires less perfect copy because that doesn’t matter when people trust you and you’re now giving them a way to pay you back. So that’s really cool.

You’d also asked earlier about learning more about this audience that you have and where they’re at and what they’re up to. I would highly recommend, if you haven’t done so already, doing some sort of survey for them so that you can better help them, and this way you can collect a lot of information up front all at once. One of the questions I would definitely ask, beyond the normal, “Okay, what are you struggling with right now?” Or, “What kinds of content would you like to see?” and that kind of thing—I would definitely ask them questions like, “Okay, well, what other photographers are you following? Where are you involved in the community other than under my brand?”

Brian Matiash: Uh-huh.

Pat Flynn: That gives you an insight on, “okay, well, not only are they following me but they’re also following this person, too.” Or, “they’re also involved in this community as well.” That’ll give you immediate insight on, “oh, this is also where they’re hanging out.” You might be surprised, actually, at some of the results you might get. But, in addition to that, you’re going to understand “oh, I know that person,” and you can even reach out to them. Or, “I don’t know that person, I should introduce myself and maybe there’s a way we can collaborate together.” Because when you collaborate with other people that helps you earn the trust of new people quite quickly. I don’t consider other people in the same space as mine—especially in photography where it’s very personal and you have your own style, there really is no competition. You are yourself and nobody’s like you, right? That could provide a lot of great insight, and that could be a cool thing to do at the beginning of 2018, to just learn more about your audience based on where else they’re at. You can just literally ask them.

Brian Matiash: Yeah, I actually really like that idea about asking about other photographers that they follow and where they frequent outside of just their inbox. Like I said, I was building up for January, my next . . . The steering survey. So I’m going to incorporate that in there. I never really considered thinking about other people that they look at, which can be very helpful in terms of just analysis.

Pat Flynn: Yeah.

Brian Matiash: Going back though with the newsletter, and in terms of asking people for something too late, or after too much time, as soon as you subscribe to my newsletter you get entered into an automation with . . . Currently, it’s four emails over four weeks and that’s primarily there to . . . The first email is this is me, this is who I am. Second one, this is some of my favorite content that I’ve created. Third is, this is where I am on social. Then the fourth is a 20 percent promotion introducing people to my online store with a 20 percent code.

Pat Flynn: Cool.

Brian Matiash: So now I’m wondering several things. One, is four emails too much over the course of a month? Especially since they subscribed within that month they’ll get at least three normal emails.

Pat Flynn: Broadcast emails, right.

Brian Matiash: Exactly, exactly. That’s something now that I need to consider, and also whether I should introduce them to the store sooner.

Pat Flynn: A) I don’t think that’s enough. In terms of okay, well, let’s keep it going, I would love to see emails five to twelve to sixteen, even afterwards, to keep that going. Just—

Brian Matiash: Really?

Pat Flynn: Yes, oh, absolutely. Keep people into that rhythm. I don’t know the exact numbers but sometimes people need five to ten touch points before actually pulling the trigger on something that they want to buy. So just that one time is not going to be enough. And if you set that expectation up front then you’re okay. If you tell them, “Hey, I have four emails coming,” and then you give them twelve, well, then that’s the disconnect. But if you tell them up front, “Hey, I’m going to give you a lot of great free content and value,” and through that you can also tell some great stories and such—that really is something that I think more people need to do in their emails, is tell better stories.

Brian Matiash: Mm-hmm.

Pat Flynn: If you set that expectation up front, “Hey, you’re going to get an email every week that teaches you something related to this industry and shares something that I know will be helpful to you. Along the way I’m also going to send you some valuable promotions and such, too, so that’s not all the time because I’m very careful about . . . I respect your time and I respect your email and I’m just super thankful you’re a part of it. But anyway, subscribe and you’ll get that.” If you set that expectation up front, you have room to send a lot more emails for sure. I know for me I’ve had emails that are fifty-two weeks long, one per week.

Brian Matiash: Mm-hmm.

Pat Flynn: I’ve had fifty emails in autoresponder at some point, and people go all the way through and sometimes they don’t take action until that thirtieth, fortieth email.

Brian Matiash: See, I thought for sure you would’ve said the opposite. I thought you would’ve said “yeah, maybe cut it down.” So, I’m actually really excited.

Pat Flynn: Good.

Brian Matiash: Yeah, I thought you were going to say, “No, Brian, you need to probably cut it down.”

Pat Flynn: Why did you think that?

Brian Matiash: I don’t know. Maybe because I was equating these four emails and taking too long to ask the audience to act, as four is too long so maybe I should do two. But I do like the . . . That definitely was not something I was expecting.

Pat Flynn: If this is your most valuable asset, which it seems, and it is for most businesses, I would definitely build out that autoresponder to be much longer and take people through that journey. I think another worry that you might have had is just that the end goal here in the current sequence is introducing them to your store and a coupon or something.

Brian Matiash: Mm-hmm.

Pat Flynn: That’s not the goal of the email. The goal of the email is to share some really cool stuff and build a relationship with them. So, have it be more than just a lead-in to a coupon and your store. Have it be just experiential. And it just so happens, through that experience they’re going to see that you have this store and these other things to offer. So, no, I think that’s totally cool and it’ll get people into a rhythm of learning to open your emails more because people are going to understand that there’s always some cool stuff on the other side of it when they click open.

Brian Matiash: And you think it’s okay to . . . expanding the intro automation, for lack of better terms, that’s okay even if it gets . . . In theory then, almost every week they’ll be getting at least two emails from me. One will be the automation and one would be my normal newsletter blast that I send out. And in some case there can be a third one where if I have something, a new product to promote . . .

Pat Flynn: Yeah, you can . . . Yeah. I would experiment with it and see what happens, honestly. You might be surprised that you’re not going to get any kickback. Now, if you do get kickback because . . . You can always change it.

Brian Matiash: Sure.

Pat Flynn: You’re never permanently set, which I think is another important thing to realize. But you might be very surprised, for sure. I would just encourage you to try it. I’m even telling myself this stuff. I need to email more, too. And when you provide great emails, of course people would want them. I would just make sure that you have a specific day where you know those autoresponders go out; that way you don’t overlap and get two emails in one day.

Brian Matiash: Yep.

Pat Flynn: Meaning I have specific days where I know I send broadcast and I have days where I know the autoresponders go out. I just try not to overlap them. Sometimes I do, and that’s okay. But yeah, that’s what I would recommend and experiment with.

Brian Matiash: So then I would love to . . . Going back, though, to growing the email . . .

Pat Flynn: Yeah, let’s finish off with that.

Brian Matiash: That’s where I would say right now I’m also struggling because the way that I got this size here was—and it’s no surprise, you’ve talked about this as well with your podcast—I created a few free giveaways in terms of . . . A couple of years ago when Sony made it big in the whole mirrorless scene, I switched, after shooting with Canon for ten years, I switched to mirrorless. So I thought, “You know what? Let me create an ebook called Moving to Mirrorless, specifically talking about the story of how and why,” because I knew that would be a topic that a lot of photographers, even to this day, still are very interested in. It sat behind a signup wall. So signup to newsletter, download the book.

Pat Flynn: Mm-hmm.

Brian Matiash: It helped because it was so Sony-focused; Sony actually helped promote it.

Pat Flynn: That’s cool.

Brian Matiash: Yeah, that was kind of organic but also there was definitely a nice little adrenalin boost with Sony. Then I’ve since created newer ebook giveaways because people seem to really enjoy ebooks. So I know that that helps, but I would love to know if there are other things that I can be doing better, or things that I can consider that I haven’t even thought about.

Pat Flynn: Well, a couple things are going to help you. If you discover some of these other brands or photography websites that people are using, doing collaborations with them, especially in photography spaces, in video it’s even more popular to do collaborations but in photography definitely utilize and see how you might be able to get in front of another person’s audience with their trust behind it. That will exponentially grow your list quite big, especially if you do some sort of giveaway just for them.

In addition to that—I think you’ve hinted at it a little bit with the giveaways that you’ve done—running a contest could be a great way. This has become a popular thing that I’ve learned about that big brands are using to just crazy grow their email list, because what they do is they run a contest and give away something, but in order to enter into the contest you have to do certain things, such as subscribe to the YouTube channel—maybe that gets you one entry. You share the contest—maybe that gives you three entries. You do this other thing and it gives you five entries. You can set whatever you want to it and that can virally grow the contest and, of course, in order to get into the contest you have to subscribe to the email list. I’ve seen email lists go from zero to 20,000 in a week doing this kind of thing.

Brian Matiash: Mm-hmm.

Pat Flynn: There’s a couple of tools that can help you. If you’re on WordPress, there’s a tool by the guys over at AppSumo called KingSumo that can help you. Although I found another one that’s even better in terms of connectivity to places like a YouTube channel, which they’ll check to see if you actually subscribe to the YouTube channel before that entry is given. It’s called Gleam: Check that out: That could be really interesting to do maybe a key one campaign for something, where you do a giveaway of your stuff and maybe a piece of equipment that you put into the mix too.

Brian Matiash: Mm-hmm.

Pat Flynn: And you’re going to see that this thing will just explode your email list in terms of the growth. If you set them up correctly after they get into your email list, you can also make sure that they are the right people and that they’re excited for the other emails that are coming. So that could be something that could work really well, too.

Brian Matiash: Yeah, I think I like that idea. I guess my concern—I was planning on doing this, I had this all in my head and I saw this . . . Just this week, I don’t know if you saw this story, but so I guess with Facebook they’re cracking down on this what they call engagement-baiting. They’re going to start down-ranking posts where the original poster is saying, “Do this,” or, “Do that,” or contests for that kind of stuff.

Pat Flynn: Mm-hmm.

Brian Matiash: And that obviously is organic, meaning if you create the contest on Facebook versus . . . I hadn’t considered using one of these platforms that—it looks like you’re offloading the contest mechanism. I’m looking at right now—

Pat Flynn: Yeah, it’s not living on Facebook.

Brian Matiash: Exactly.

Pat Flynn: Which is the key part of it, because Facebook will crack down completely on that for sure because they don’t want any fake engagement for sure. So, yeah—

Brian Matiash: So you don’t—

Pat Flynn: Go ahead.

Brian Matiash: You don’t see . . . I’ve never done a contest like that and my list is one of those lists that went from a couple hundred to tens of thousands because of the giveaway, but that’s because I also had Sony behind me. I guess my question is . . . I guess it’s almost, I’m answering the question, given the fact that you just recommended it. But this is something that is successful? You’ve seen success with this?

Pat Flynn: I’m using this early next year to grow my YouTube channel specifically. You can have it help you with whatever goal you want. It was recommended to me by somebody who is very tied into the space of YouTube and has said it’s just exploded several channels for clients of his. I know a few people who’ve used it for email to do just the same. So, yeah, it’s going to be about the big hits, I think, versus the trickles that come in. People are going to come and subscribe to your email list through finding you wherever. But I think if you want to really grow it, you’re going to have to make some big, bold moves. That could be a collaboration or JV; perhaps you do a webinar for somebody else’s audience and you collect registrants that way. And/or—you run these contests to give you a quick hit. Again, these are things you can experiment with. If they work, great; if not, you don’t have to do them anymore. But you won’t know for your specific audience and your brand until you try it. These are things that are really popular right now, if that helps.

Brian Matiash: It does. I had experimented with my videos on YouTube, the ones that . . . Where I do a tutorial. What I experimented with was in the description. I would create a blog post on my site that where you can . . . If you go from the video to my blog post, I offer the original photo, the unedited photo, that you can download along with the preset that sits behind the . . . What’s it called? Opt-in Panda? Just the plug-in.

Pat Flynn: Yeah. Mm-hmm.

Brian Matiash: Yeah, so it sits behind a locker that requires you to sign up. I’ve seen some success there but it’s sometimes just hearing . . . I hope the audience nods their head—sometimes it’s just hearing something, like you said, just the big hits. I think I forgot how important that is. I’m so focused on these small little things where I get ten to fifteen sign-ups a day which, to me, is not sustainable.

Pat Flynn: Yeah.

Brian Matiash: It needs to be much larger than that. Talking about collaborations, talking about joint ventures and stuff like that, I think it . . . It hasn’t been a priority of mine, or it hasn’t been even on the resolutions list for me for 2018. But now I think I’m going to add that on there just for—

Pat Flynn: Yeah, I’m excited to see how it goes, Brian. We’re at the end of the time here, so I just want to finish up and say thank you so much. I think we got a lot of great stuff here and some actual strategies that will be put into place. And if you don’t mind, maybe we can do a follow-up episode down the road and see how 2018 went and encourage everybody.

Brian Matiash: I would love it and, again, I’m so thankful for you giving your time and expertise here, and just listening to my business and how to help it grow.

Pat Flynn: Yeah man, it’s going to be fun to watch. I encourage everybody to check out your website,, and we’ll see what happens. Cool man.

Brian Matiash: Thanks Pat.

Pat Flynn: Thanks again.

Oh man, that was a great call. Brian, thank you so much for coming on and allowing us to share our conversation together. We covered a lot more than just your email list and stuff. We talked about funnels, we talked about how often to sell and how to make sure you’re not doing it in a way that’s going to upset your people. So Brian, I’m looking forward to hearing from you in the future so we can see and check up on you and see your results.

For everybody out there: Take action, guys. I know selling can be very scary, but if you are not confident in your product, that’s one thing. But if you’re not confident in how you’re selling your product, that’s the second level. You need to be confident in the way that you’re promoting, because people need you, right? You have this amazing stuff to share. It is your role, almost your responsibility, to make sure that you promote it in a way that, yes, it gets in front of people but also makes them feel good about wanting to work with you and grab that thing that you’re selling.

Once again, just as a reminder, you can check out Brian at his website,

Then finally, once again a big thank you to FreshBooks for keeping us in check, headache free, stress free, related to all the paperwork and admin stuff related to finances in our business. If you want to check them out—a thirty-day, unrestricted free trial—just go to and make sure you enter “Ask Pat” in the “How did you hear about us?” section.

Alright, thanks so much for listening. Make sure you hit that subscribe button. And please, if you have a moment, give me a shout out through an iTunes review. Let us know what you think about it because, my team and I, we work really hard to put this together for you and it just really motivates us to know that you are getting value from the show, too. So an iTunes review for AskPat 2.0 would be fantastic. Just look up AskPat on iTunes and leave a review there.

Thank you so much. I appreciate you and we’ll see you in the next episode.

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